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We Know We Have to Change, So Why Is It So Hard?

Anthony Siggers

Co-Founder, CPO, Archipelago

Anthony is Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Archipelago.  Previously, he served as Global Head of Broking Operations, Technology and Analytics for Willis Towers Watson.

For those of us passionate about commercial insurance and its societal purpose, recent events have brought into sharp focus the need for an industry that is highly relevant, efficient and innovative. Alas, despite being older than most with a 350 year history, our industry is perhaps the last to modernize, and rather than reinforce its value and importance during these turbulent times, it is taking a very public beating.

We all acknowledge the need for transformative change, so why is it proving so hard? Time and time again we hear fresh plans promising a land of wonder and plenty, only to quickly run aground in the sands of delivery.

My belief is that at the heart of our inability to change lies the way in which we exchange information across the value chain. Uniquely, this is by its very nature a problem we must all tackle together rather than one that can be solved by any single organization acting independently of others. And only by together unlocking this fundamental constraint can we unlock efficiency and innovation in the way other industry sectors have already done. 

Consider large commercial property insurance. Information passes through myriad steps from client to reinsurer, as emails and spreadsheet attachments, at every step being manually reviewed, manipulated and reformed.

One large deal today can involve 500 individuals across 100 organizations over 3 months, bogged down in preventable and duplicative data processing activity. And the process repeats every quarter as portfolio updates are disseminated through the chain.

In parallel, clients are installing sensors capable of real-time monitoring of every aspect of a building’s performance, and challenging the insurance industry to respond to the possibilities these ‘smart buildings’ present.

If the industry struggles to deal with just a couple of dozen data points on each building, exchanged once a year and updated quarterly, how can it possibly expect to cope with hundreds of thousands of data points being exchanged in real-time? 

Perhaps let’s start by challenging our addiction to email and spreadsheets, and opening our minds to new ways of working.

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"One large deal today can involve 500 individuals across 100 organizations over 3 months, bogged down in preventable and duplicative data processing activity. And the process repeats every quarter as portfolio updates are disseminated through the chain."

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